By Kenneth Stepp
Writing about love has become my hobby and my passion for at least five years. It’s in my head constantly. I dwell on the deep questions incessantly, having spent so much time writing and thinking about such an important subject, I am compelled to write another article about the mystery of love.
I have experienced real love only a few times in my life. Not counting family, it’s been sparse. I have been told I am loved by many along the way. But as in most things, time really did tell the tale. Most of these people are gone now. Leaving me with the big question…. What IS love? Is it real? How do we know we are in love?
I will try unpacking my thoughts and conclusions in this article. First. I believe we have over humanized the word love. We love types of food, athletes, actors, places, even gadgets. I wish we would discover another word to either use in that context, or change this thing I will call “real love” to a new word that sets it completely apart from all other things we “love”. The Greeks did it. Agape meant unconditional love. And that was a stand alone word for real unconditional love. Send Mr Webster a memo.
Real love has some components that only real love has. It is not affected by time or space. If you love someone and do not speak to them for twenty years, you still love them. If they move to another country. Same thing. Love never changes, it endures. I will try to explain that there is only one real love, but in different types below.
Parental love, romantic love, and friendship love can all be real love. But with differing dynamics.
These three are the most talked about loves we have. While I will agree these exist, I want to explain why love is just love. While each of the three have a purpose in our life, the other two does not.
How did I learn this? Many years ago I was in love with a girl. Madly, and fully in love. We broke up, I moved on, got married, as did she, and we started communicating again after more than twenty years, we found one another again after all that time. I still love her but the dynamics have changed. It’s more elegant now. She is no longer a romantic subject of my thoughts, but love still exists. That hasn’t changed a bit. But now when I look at her, I see my wonderful friend. The romantic component that was there faded, but love endured. It is the purest relationship I have.
I have interviewed hundreds of people over the years. People who show unconditional love to others have convinced me that this is what real love is about. It has amazing power. The power to heal, build, and complete. Enduring eternally. Well, I have solved nothing really. Just processing more questions. The big one is still the center of my focus. But I will keep that one to myself for now. Good luck on your journey. Find someone that loves you beyond your flaws. They are out there. Never settle for less.